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>> this is "the chris matthews show." >> ask not what your country can do for you. >> tear down this wall. >> i can hear you. >> the time for change has come. chris: this one's for you. forget about that cliff. 'tis the season for sizing up the year and this year 2012 has been truly historic. so pull up a chair. it's our annual award show. smart move. what did barack obama do smart this year and what was the key to mitt romney's failure? we'll look at the nominations for best and worst political moves. unforced errors and of course our annual foot in mouth prize. and finally, the nerve of it. our annual chutzpah prize and who showed the most nerve and who are the heroes of 2012 in i'm chris matthews.
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welcome to a very special awards show. with us mike duffy from "time" magazine. bbc's katty kay. "new york times'" helene cooper and abc's sam donaldson. first up, 'tis the season for year-end political awards. best and worst. last year part one of our political awards and this week part two and this is pure fun. our first category president obama's smartest political decision of 2012. which one of these four choices will our roundtablers pick? was the smartest obama decision to campaign relentlessly on raising taxes on the rich? or was it the early takedown of mitt romney in all those ads last spring that painted him as a rich guy? or the high-tech multimillion dollar back room operation to identify every obama vote and then turn it out on election day? for finally, was the smartest obama decision just bring it in, bubba? >> no president, not me, not any of my predecessors, no one
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could have fully repaired all the damage that he found in just four years. chris: was that stacking the deck, mike? >> all good. the one they think wargs the brilliant one was betting that if they spent $150 million in nine or 10 states over the summer, it would pay dividends when the thing got tough. and they bet it when they didn't know they would have money later. chris: to bring down romney. >> as a rich plutocrat. they knew that would help them later if it got tight and it did get tight. obama told people in the summer what are you doing? what are you thinking? i want to keep it close now and win it in the debates. that's pretty much more or less how it turned out. >> except that first debate. chris: katty. >> the fact they managed to find voters where the romney campaign didn't even know voters were. this was an election republicans could have won. but they did an incredible job. hiring david plouffe was probably a smart move. chris: they ambushed him at the end because they didn't know what was coming.
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helene. you covered this. >> i'm with katty. they're all such good choices. but i think the scrounging up the votes -- i remember it going to richmond, virginia, like may or something. early -- fairly early on. and they had such -- siterring at the obama campaign headquarters office and i remember one of the aides there saying do you know there's a goya factory, lat teen owe food company. and the goya factory and so many latinos -- we're not talking about northern virginia but the heart of -- the heart of virginia. and they were going after those voters. even then. chris: sam. >> on to something. not those four. it was june. the executive order that allowed the children who had come here illegally brought lat teen owes who stayed for a while. and nailed down the latino vote. george bush in 2004 got almost 50% of the latino vote. he got almost 92% of the latino
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vote. and romney didn't have a chance. chris: next category. let's call it the luck of obama. that's with an apostrophe. how lucky is this guy? for instance there was obama's luck that the republican primary season was endless. and a turnoff. severely wounded mitt romney. and there was obama's luck in mitt romney's unforced error. the op-ed, let detroit go bankrupt. there was the out of the blue war on women fueled by crazy statements from senate candidates like todd akin out in missouri. the guy who said women who are victims of legitimate rape he called it, don't get pregnant. and richard mourdock in indiana who said pregnancy is resulting from rape are a gift from god. and finally, was barack obama's biggest stroke of luck, that video of mitt romney talking to those rich people down in florida about those lowly 47%. katty, what was the big lucky break? >> a lot of them they had control over. or some control over. the obama campaign. or it was the fault of the
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candidates. but it was "the new york times" that chose the headline let detroit go bankrupt. so that really was a lucky break for the obama campaign because it played so well in the campaign in ohio. it really ginned up so many -- so much antipathy in that state. chris: i like the one -- the joke of the campaign was you knew you were in trouble when you said the rape candidate. people would say which one? >> this is hard. there are so many choices. chris: go ahead, sam. >> i think it was the primary season. i think it was the debates. people watched all these candidates, most of them try to get to the right of genghes khan and most of them did. the one that stood out for me when people were watching was when being pressed, if we let them go to the emergency room, because we don't want to pay for that, what are you going to do, let them die? you heard people in the audience, yeah, let them die. let them die. chris: i forgot that. >> i'm thinking people watching the republican party here, because you're the
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representatives, and let them die? no, we're not going to do this in this country. not going to do it. and that was his lucky break. chris: it wasn't the candidates. it was the peanut gallery. the party -- >> the party got -- by all of these people who went to the right of genghes khan. >> republican party prime time week after week was not helpful. chris: and romney to the right. >> and i'm back to ohio. i think this race was won and lost among the western reserve counties in northern ohio between toledo and cleveland. that whole thing came down to that. the auto industry puts a lot of food on a lot of tables there. and other than coming out against the ohio state buckeyes and the michigan wolverines in the same day, romney could not have made a bigger mistake. chris: did you ever think -- >> i do agree with both of these guys. because i think -- i still have this image of jennifer granholm giving that great speech. at the democratic convention. when she went from -- and she was talking about the auto
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bailout. and you knew she was building up to the let detroit go bankrupt and going state after state after state of the auto bailout. you got the ohio and michigan and the place exploded. and we now know that it's -- it's really hard to win the presidency without those two states. chris: the annual foot in mouth award. our nominees, mitt romney at that second debate. >> i went to a number of women's groups and said can you help us find folks and they brought whole binders full of women. chris: next, vice president's unfortunate turn of phrase. >> let the big banks write their own rules. unchain wall street. going to put you all back in chains. chris: gosh, next, mitt romney's key campaign guy who was a bit too candid after the primaries ended. >> hit a reset button for the fall campaign. esque changes. it's almost like an etche-sketch. chris: or president obama's big
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slip on the trail. >> you got a business, you didn't build that. chris: well, that gave an opening. that last one. fairly or not. helene, your pick for the best foot in mouth here? >> i'll go with etha-sketch. obama's blooper was a big one but he won. and fantastic. it's hilarious. chris: and everybody in the world with the strategy was? >> it's crazy. but also the problem is that it also went to the heart of what moderate voters feared about mitt romney. one of the starting off going into the republican campaigns, he had mitt romney had a lot of moderate voters who were willing to vote for him because they thought this guy was governor of massachusetts. he can't be that far to the right. but also you go back again to this character issue. and it goes again to -- chris: so fake being a moderate. >> fake being a moderate and at the same time lose the conservatives. >> the best one to a pre-existing perception and i'll go way back to the primaries. it was a string of foot in
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mouths by romney. the $10,000 bet. i know nascar owners, my wife drives a couple of cadillacs that. image he created as a rich guy and americans never got over it. chris: i can't beat that. >> caughtey's right. and -- katty's right. and romney putting his foot in his mouth. i like to fire people when they don't perform. and talking about insurance companies. and taken out of context. he couldn't connect with ordinary americans. maybe they wanted to connect with him but he couldn't do it. chris: here's one that's just fun. we're calling it song and dance. our contestants are president obama. >> ♪ chris: he can record for al green. next con tevent the former secretary of state who revealed he was up to speed on the biggest pop hit of the summer. >> ♪ i just met you and this
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is crazy but here's my number so call me maybe ♪ chris: and even al simpson got caught up in that craziness over the korean dance craze. ♪ chris: our last contestant mitt romney. >> ♪ america america god shed his grace on thee ♪ chris: the unanimous vote here. >> i like colin powell. i just like that. here's a guy, younger than i am but we're getting up in years. chris: knew all the lyrics even if we didn't. >> every once in a while president obama likes to challenge his black soul side and you saw it coming out there. >> i'll go with simpson every time. >> this is a disturbing trend. this singing on the campaign trail. >> especially when you can't sing.
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chris: are we going to have a singing primary? when we come back more of our awards. the annual chutzpah prize is coming up. and the biggest mystery, plus the turning points of 2012. and who had the very best year this year? be right back.
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chris: welcome back. it's time for one of my favorite awards every year, the chutzpah prize. who had the biggest nerve this year? was it former general electric c.e.o. jack welch suggesting the white house somehow cooked the books when the unemployment rate suddenly dropped the month before the election? here he was on "hardball." >> it defiers the imagination to have a surge -- any surge since 1983, a month before the election. i leave it to you to do all the analysis. chris: wow. or was it vice-presidential
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candidate paul ryan posing as a major marathoner? >> i just got asked what's your personal best? >> under three -- i think high two's. >> holy smokes. >> ryan's best time was not under three showers. but over four hours. or was it the captain of that cruise ship that went down aground -- went aground in italy and abandoned ship ahead of some of his passengers, "i tripped and ended up in one of the lifeboats." he said. again "that's why i was in there." or finally, was it karl rove? a fox news paid analyst but the guy behind a romney super pac frantic after fox's numbers crunchers called ohio for obama. even though all the networks had. >> do you believe that ohio has been settled? >> no, i don't. the director of the ohio campaign for romney on the other end of the line refreshing the page every few seconds. i think this is premature. we got to be careful about calling things.
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chris: a great night for megan kelly but not a great night for karl rove. >> ryan and rove were part after larger republican story which is to deny reality. and my favorite chutzpah moment was a deny reality moment was when the romney campaign suggested that a fiat was going to close a plant in toledo making jeeps when everyone in fiat and toledo knew it wasn't and did that five to 10 days before the election closed. everyone knew it wasn't true and they kept running ads about it. just amazing. chris: helene. >> paul ryan. it takes a lot of chutzpah to say two hours. olympians running at that. but that's a really -- chris: that's 13 miles an hour if you do the math. >> that's amazingly fast. >> i like ryan. he was on the campaign trail insisting that after obama became president obama had closed a plant, a g.m. plant. and people said, was actually closed in december. george bush was president. he kept saying it. now, that really takes
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something. >> i'm going to go with an italian but not that italian. silvio berlusconi. convicted of tax fraud and sentenced to four years in prison decides this is the perfect platform to run for prime minister again. chris: that's how he got there in the first place prorblee. that's chutzpah. next category, the hard to -- hardest to figure out, nominees for 2012 mysteries. what president obama was thinking in that first debate and a muge mystery predicting -- and a huge mystery predicting the plot and david petraeus, his mystery and the email she fired off to the woman in florida who is a big friend of all the generals. or is the biggest mystery of the year what made romney think he had it? katty. >> i'm going to go with the first debate. we still don't really know what happened. and nor the people advising him were furious the day after about it. where was he? where was he? >> the man in charge of clandestine operations. he should know the rewards and
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risks. chris: why did he use that email? >> the c.i.a. director puterring that many sat risk is stunning to me. >> petraeus. the kim kardashian aspect. and nobody knew -- chris: and these people, do you think they want to get caught at some weird level? >> exactly. they think they're completely above. nobody can come after them. chris: you are mr. chutzpah. so what do you think? >> i like the first debate. what was the president thinking? he was home watching this guy. in an empty suit pretending he was him. what was he thinking? who is this guy up there? i want to get reelected. who is up there that doesn't want to get reelected? that first debate was extraordinary and if mitt romney who made some capital out of it but if he had any ability to win this election, he could have won it right there. chris: romney was -- wasn't just the president was weak. romney was awesome. when we come back, what was the biggest turning point at 2012?
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chris: welcome back. and more of our annual award show. the next category, the biggest political turning point this year. that's where we were just talking about a moment aeg. the opening created for mitt romney in that first debate in october when barack obama's poor showing gave romney true momentum. was it that bipartisan show of support from chris christie to barack obama after new jersey got decimated in the hurricane? was it the romney campaign getting caught in a lie with that last-minute jeep ad in ohio? mike was talking about a moment ago as well. just when he, romney, was narrowing the race in that key state.
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or was the biggest turning point the unemployment number? finally dipping under 8%, motte before the election? helene. >> all of those are g i'll go with chris christie. just because i think for pure political theater, that was a match. saw two politicians at both -- at that moment in time, they needed each other. and chris christie figured out that president obama was about to win. he's governor of new jersey. this is a democratic state. he wants to win re-election. and you can see at that point romney is not looking that good. and he sort of hitched his star to the winner. he's thinking about himself. in 2016. chris: the scene of those guys walking the beach. >> absolutely. with the track suits. chris: that helped. they were dressed for the right situation. yeah. >> i think the biggest turning point was fairly early although we didn't know it and that was the 47%. you had a two-fer there. romney saying 47% of the country is a bunch of bums and freeloaders. and you had people thinking he doesn't really mean that. once again, he's pandering to the group in front of him. and anything in a he case to
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reach -- anything that he takes to reach. chris: he's not that bad of guy. >> everything that sam said. can i? chris: you did. >> you can say it better. chris: you want to say it better? ok. mike. >> i think if there's -- race was about one thing it was about the size, shape and scope of government. that's what the real contest was about. and sandy, the hurricane, put that back on the table in a big way. do we need more or less and at moments like that, we need it. and that happened five days before the thing closed. and you could see obama's nine or 10 states, his numbers raised about a point and a half in his last five days. and i think that storm helped him a big deal. >> sandy is salls very, very important. -- is always very, very important. chris: better to be about fema than the i.r.s. if you're a democrat. who had the best year in 2012?
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chris: welcome back. our final awards category for the show, who besides the
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obamas obviously had the best year? our four choices. the brits. the queen celebrated 60 years on the throne. there's a future queen or king on the way next summer obviously. and the olympics were a smash. or was it the guys like david plouffe and nate silver who nailed this election result from way back? or was it the gay rights movement with four states effectively voting for same sex marriage? and polls showing big increase in public approval. in fact, same sex marriage is now a majority opinion in this country. or finally, the clintons. did bill and hillary clinton have best year of 2012? sam donaldson. >> i'll go with the queen because i don't want to be political. she's done a great job. she came to washington a few years ago as you know. and the garden party at the embassy and one of 10,000 people there. a lot of people talked to her. i couldn't dare as a person from scotland. i was afraid i would say free scotland, you tyrant and be thrown out. chris: -- >> absolutely.
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sean connery. may i say. chris: there you are. helene. >> i'm going with sort of roundabout way the queen as well but that's because i was at a state lunch for british prime minister david cameron. earlier this year at the state department. and there were all these stars here. but who everybody was zeroing in on was hugh bonneville. chris: i forgot about them. >> a picture with them. it's so good. and nice -- the nicest guy. >> and he invited -- chris: i'm going with michelle dockery. closest thing to joan fontaine in about 50 years. she's beautiful. >> there's a name from out of the past. >> i think it's the clintons. i don't think anybody's close. she's going to stop being secretary of state next week or have a new one. and she'll go on for a little while longer and run for president and he's raised $3 billion in four days in september. and -- chris: quick, is she running? >> yeah. >> yeah.
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>> absolutely. >> and she gets elected. chris: thanks to a great roundtable. mike duffy, katty kay, helene cooper and sam donaldson. that's the show. and that's a wrap for another year. our best wishes for 2013. see you back here next week.
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waiter: here's your check. oh! you--you got it. you know, since i got rid of my car, i really enjoy walking. ok. got it? no, i'm good. announcer: getting pulled over for buzzed driving could cost you around $10,000 in fines, legal fees, and increased insurance rates. oh, you're home early. you live with your mom? announcer: that'll set your game back a few years.

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The Chris Matthews Show
NBC December 30, 2012 11:00am-11:30am EST

News/Business. (2012) New. (CC) (Stereo)

TOPIC FREQUENCY Obama 5, Chris Christie 3, Sam Donaldson 3, Virginia 3, Ohio 3, George Bush 2, Michigan 2, Paul Ryan 2, Florida 2, David Plouffe 2, Mike Duffy 2, Scotland 2, Helene Cooper 2, Mitt Romney 2, Ryan 2, Petraeus 1, Italy 1, Detroit 1, Clintons 1, Aeg 1
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